Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Fideism is the theory that certain propositions can be held by faith without regard to evidence. Its epistemological underpinnings are often contrasted with evidentialism - the view that one is justified in holding a belief if and only if that belief is based on sufficient undefeated evidence. Recently, John Bishop and C. Stephen Evans have each forwarded new theories of fideism that oppose evidentialism. This dissertation examines these two theories, raising problems that threaten to undermine the epistemological claims of the fideist. A version of evidentialism is then advanced that addresses the problems identified by Evans and Bishop. Particularly important to this defense is a notion of evidence that includes private evidence. Through a broadly abductive argument, this dissertation concludes that evidentialism remains a better candidate for rationally holding religious beliefs, while fideism--even in these newly proposed forms--cannot adequately answer the challenges of the skeptic.

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